Americans do not have a good sense of priorities. Our mad quest for wealth has led us to create a society in which 1 out of 2 of us has low-income status. We are preoccupied more with the gross national product and the yields on our stocks than the fact that 15% of us actually dwell in poverty. We have the resources to do something about this but timidly sit on our duffs. The parable of the talents is about people with resources who do nothing with them. It is like Benjamin Franklin once wrote: "Hide not your talents, for us they were made, what's a sundial in the shade?"
UPCOMING WEEKS In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.